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When you have a dispute, whether with an individual or an organisation, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may well be worth considering. ADR is a less formal way of trying to resolve disputes than litigation, it takes less time and is usually far more cost effective. Accordingly, ADR is something that we will always be alive to, discuss with our clients and implement where that is likely to be in our clients’ best interests.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

ADR comes in a number of forms, the most well known of which is probably mediation but there are a number of other forms, including negotiation, expert determination and arbitration, including informal arbitration in the context of unfair dismissal claims. The most common form of ADR is mediation where the parties will come together and present their case to an independent trained mediator who will then work with the parties to try to encourage a settlement. If an agreement is reached and signed it is binding on the parties and can be enforced like any contract or Court judgment.

There is no obligation on either party to settle in a mediation and the mediator cannot impose his or her own decision. Even if a mediation is unsuccessful, this is unlikely to present significant difficulties to either party because mediations are conducted on a confidential basis and cannot be discussed with a judge of any description in the matter in question until the matter has been finally determined.

Both parties have to agree to ADR, although in some cases the Court may insist that the parties consider ADR and can even impose cost penalties if they do not. ADR can take place at any time before or during formal Court proceedings and so it should not be looked upon as being entirely separate from a litigation process. Rather, ADR can compliment an ongoing litigation process. If ADR fails then both parties can still resort to or carry on with Court proceedings.

Our approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution

We are very supportive of ADR in our firm and dispute resolution practices. We have significant expertise in ADR and indeed several of our practitioners are trained in mediation with some of the leading organisations dedicated to mediation, including the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).

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Matt Akers
Tim Ashdown
James Colvin
Keith Pearlman
Lucie Thomas
Romy Cross
Alex Dawson
Emma Pumfman

Recent work

Alleged negligence – successfully defended a claim for £30m

We defended a claim on behalf of a major financial institution, where it was alleged that it had breached its duty of care to its customer by allowing cheques drawn on the customer’s accounts in favour of a director to be honoured in breach of mandate, resulting in the company’s administration and compulsory liquidation. The Claimant sought damages up to £30 million. We successfully applied to strike out the claim on limitation grounds and secured a costs order for a significant sum against the Claimant.

Complex and multi-jurisdictional – successfully defended a claim for US $27m

We acted for a private limited company specialising in retail products by mail order and online, sourcing goods manufactured in China, which were stored at the port before being transported to their destination. The Claimant, a multi-national logistics company, alleged the goods were defective and didn’t meet the specification, claiming compensation in the sum of US $27 million.

Asset protection – successfully protected the IP of our client so they could expand globally

Our client provides a turnkey franchise service for a range of international casual and fine dining restaurant brands. We defended our client against the misuse of their trademark and breaches of their franchise agreement overseas. The work of our specialist contentious intellectual property team enabled the client to regain control of their trademarks and continue their overseas expansion.

Contractual breaches – Successfully represented two Directors to achieve royalties owed of £15m

We represented two Directors in a claim relating to a substantial payment of royalties, as well as various breaches of contractual arrangements between our client and an association responsible for rights and the collection of fees in the entertainment industry.

Banking and Finance

Misrepresentation – successfully defended a £15m damages claim for deceit

A series of loan notes were issued to raise capital for a care sector business. The Claimant (the capital provider) claimed that the financial information provided by our client was false and misleading. After failing to restructure its debts, the fund went into administration in 2014 resulting in the loss of the entire value of its investment. The fund issued a claim against our client in 2017. Our team successfully argued that the Claimant had failed to undertake reasonable due diligence at the time when they made the investment and failed to commence the claim within the six year statutory time limit. The claim was therefore found by the High Court to be ‘statute-barred’ and was dismissed.

Damage mitigation – using mediation to reach a positive settlement in a high value property claim

We advised and acted for a leading international retailer of jewellery and accessories in defense of a substantial claim brought against them by a retail partner. The claim related to alleged unlawful termination of a retail agreement by our client. This was a complex matter where there were very important global reputation and potential negative PR issues at stake. We used mediation to reach a settlement. This avoided the dispute entering the public domain at a time of high sensitivity for the retail sector and we concluded this matter on excellent terms for our client.

Successful mediation – reduced a claim by over 78% in a complex and multi-jurisdictional case

We litigated against two firms of solicitors (which was then reduced to one), who made a US $2.5m claim for unpaid invoices arising out of a distribution agreement. There were a number of concerns relating to the conduct of the parties involved, as well as a separate argument that the claim may be statute barred, and through successful mediation, the claim was reduced in value by over 78% from the initial US $2.5m.

Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation Lawyers

Negotiated settlement for a high-net-worth family

We defended our client, a globally based family with international assets in property and art located in three different jurisdictions, against a claim for sums due under a loan agreement, which had fallen into default. Once proceedings were issued, the Claimant made an application for summary judgment and an agreement was reached prior to the determination of that application, providing an excellent and wholly successful outcome for our client.

Intellectual property dispute

Supporting a pet food manufacturer in a dispute relating to the ownership of intellectual property rights in a trademark, slogan and web domains.

Dispute resolution and debt recovery

We have a long-standing relationship with a leading surveying and real estate firm, providing a range of dispute resolution and debt recovery services. Our work for this client will often involve defending allegations of breach of contract and/or negligence (claims which are commonly brought as part of a defence to our client’s claims to recover its professional services fees).

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